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4 Ways Building Materials Manufacturers Can Benefit From a Blog

9 May

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Businesses that don’t have a blog are not taking advantage of all the opportunities that this powerful marketing tool can offer. Even manufacturers of building materials can use their blog to reach out to new target audiences and grow their profits. Even if you don’t know much about blogging, these four reasons will convince you it’s necessary for your business. 

1. Connect with Customers

Blogs can provide means of connecting with customers and building relationships. This is especially true if you allow others to comment on your blog posts. Tying your blog topics to items that are in the news or that are trending means that people who are searching for that topic are more likely to find your website. 

Be sure to follow up on any comments and/or questions from readers in a timely manner. Answering succinctly and in a manner that is easy for the average person to understand shows good customer service and helps build relationships. 

2. Gain Authority

Your blog needs a purpose, like being a vehicle for imparting high-quality information that your audience can use.  Posting well-written blogs can help you gain a distinctive voice of authority within your industry. It’s important to refrain from directly selling to your audience when you write blog posts. 

While this might sound difficult, it doesn’t have to be – if you keep in mind that you are trying to be informative rather than sell. For example, instead of simply pointing out that you sell several different types of a particular building material, outline the benefits of each one in a way that makes it easy for your readers to choose the right one for their needs. 

3. Reach a Different Demographic

Think about your ideal customer that is most likely to purchase your products. Now visualize what the next generation of your customers is doing right now. Chances are that last demographic is online a great deal. Tapping into that up-and-coming customer base is crucial to ensuring the continued success of your business. 

4. You Stay Informed

One of the least well-known – but most important – reasons for maintaining a blog for your business is that it forces you to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in your industry. Blogging about trending topics gives your business a stance of authority which you will have earned since you needed to research the topic before blogging about it. 

Don’t let this marketing tool sit idle any longer, take advantage of all the opportunities blogging can bring your business. Put these four tips into practice in your upcoming blog posts and let us know if they work for you by reaching out to us at here.

 

 

 

 

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6 Trade Shows Building Products Manufactures Must Attend

4 May

 

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Trade shows are an optimal platform from which to introduce a captive audience to the latest innovative product or service you have to offer. The following trade shows are ones that should be on your short list for 2017 and ones to keep on your radar for 2018.  

 1 . National Hardware Show

Held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada, the National Hardware Show will run from May 9-11 in 2017. This annual trade show brings resellers and manufacturers from housing after-market sectors such as repair, remodeling and maintenance together. With attendance projected to top 35,000 over the course of its three-day run, 83 percent of people who have visited the trade show previously noted that they did so to look at new products. 

 2 . ENR FutureTech

San Francisco, California is the site of this year’s ENR FutureTech trade show. Hosted by Engineering News Record from May 30 until June 1 2017 , the show focuses on technology and its continuously-expanding role in construction, engineering and architecture. Combining intimate networking opportunities and interactive workshop sessions provides the opportunity for attendees to learn how technology applications can drive performance, profits and project delivery. 

 3. Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE

Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE – often shortened to R|D|J for brevity – is a three-day event that combines exhibit hall activities with workshops and other conference programs to provide training, education and networking for those in the residential construction industry. Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, R|D|J  2017 is slated to run from October 25-27. 

 4. Greenbuild

Hosted by the US Green Building Council from November 8-10 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts, Greenbuild boasts 20,000 registered attendees. Focusing on the premise that not only is green building an innovation that is shaping the current landscape of the industry, it is a concept that will continue to grow in the future, Greenbuild is dedicated to providing a forum for experts, professionals and industry leaders to connect. As the biggest conference dedicated to sustainable building in the world, Greenbuild generates a “Legacy Project” each year that is designed to deliver real-world solutions for the community whose outcomes will last for years to come. 

 5. Design & Construction Week

From January 9-11, 2018, Orlando will be the host city of Design & Construction Week. Expect more than 80,000 construction and design professionals to converge on the city to learn, talk and network at an event that is a combination of the talents of the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) and the NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Show (KBS). 

 6. AIA Conference on Architecture

New York City will be the home of the American Institute of Architects 2018’s National Convention. Set to go June 21st – 23rd the convention will feature intensive half-day and full-day workshops, seminars by leading architects and firms on emerging industry trends, tours of city architecture, events, and experiences covering the topic of the ever-changing world of architecture. The conference aims to create a space where a collection of talented and visionary individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in all communities come together.

 

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Is There More Opportunity for Green Builders in 2016?

19 Jul

HouseLawnPlan

The number of contractors involved in more than 60% of green products is growing and is set to grow to 31% both inside and out of the United States, according to a study by Dodge Data and Analytics. The largest green growth is occurring in First World and emerging economies around the world, such as the US, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. The rate of green building in the US, the UK, and Germany—even in the wake of Brexit—is expected to double by 2018.
The opportunity for green builders in the near future seems inevitable, but is there a way for a new construction product manufacturer to find his way into the market in 2016?
The answer lies in understanding the drivers for green building and positioning your company to take advantage of the developments.
Contractors who do business with government are at an advantage, especially in the United States and a few other Western countries. The US and Germany both have set a priority to expand new initiatives into other countries. Approximately 21 percent of contractors that are currently in the US now report that more than 60% of their contracted projects are green.
Some of the drivers for green building include new environmental regulations around the world, a market demand for sustainable energy construction, and individual client demand for green construction within certain industries. Part of the reason that green building is accelerating more quickly in the US than in the rest of the world is the client demand in the country. Clients in countries that are not the US are much more concerned with market demands, a great deal of which is keeping up with the money that the US spends on green construction.
Contractors outside of the US are more concerned with the impact of building sustainable energy buildings on the health of the actual occupants of that building. Basically, if you are trying to build inside of the US, your investors will want to know if you can reduce water and energy costs. Outside of the US, you should present how you will protect natural resources in the surrounding environment.
Overall, the US is trying to stay ahead of the world in the new green economy, and global competition is increasing because of the value inherent in green building. Depending on the contract that you are trying to get, focus on the needs of the partner organizations and clients in order to take advantage of the new, wide open green market. If you are selling to contractors inside of the US, make sure they know your products can help with energy costs—sell yourself as the supply-side cost reduction expert. Outside of the US, you might be able to get a leg up by featuring the ways in which your products will eventually help the people who will live and work in the buildings that will be created.

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IBS 2016: “The New Big Thing” Is…

23 Feb

My Key IBS Takeaway for Building Products Marketers

IBS 2016

We’ve talked a lot about the 2016 International Builders’ Show (IBS) throughout the course of the last few weeks. You might even say we’re a little obsessed. But the reason why is that, for building products marketers, trade shows are a big deal. And there is perhaps no bigger one—or more important—than IBS. Every year, IBS represents where the building industry is going, from products to design trends to marketing. And every year, it’s at IBS where you can find “the next big thing.”

For me, the next big thing in trade show marketing is pretty clear: experiential booths. For a long time—too long, in fact—boring and uninspired booths have ruled the roost. Matt Hillman, our creative director at ER Marketing, even recently went as far as to describe the majority of booths as “brochures you stand in.” Not far off. But things are changing. In his post, he discusses some of the booths at IBS that delivered much better experiences for their audience. The common theme was that these exhibitors need to put on a “show” for their audience.

I think this is true no matter what trade shows you attend. In fact, it sparked my thinking on some other trade shows I’ve been to that have exemplified the experiential booth marketing that was such a hit at IBS. Here are some of the standout booth experiences I’ve had attending trade shows—experiences that should become the model for B2B marketers in the building products industry:

  1. At the Food Equipment Show, a commercial sausage making company proved the power of their product by doing multiple demonstrations using Play-Doh. This created a colorful (in more ways than one) experience for attendees.
  2. A simple product demonstration that proved effective was a window company that let attendees experience their good, better, best product offerings. By placing single, double, and triple paned windows in front of heaters, visitors could simply touch the glass to feel the difference in quality.
  3. A house wrap company had an innovative approach to showing their product’s resilience. By pulling their house wrap taut and placing it next to competitors’ products, they were able to demonstrate which was the strongest—by having a professional pitching machine shoot baseballs at the wrap.
  4. At the Deck Expo, one company created a competition in which attendees attempted to break their product with a hammer. If they were able to break it, they won a huge prize. It was simple to execute, and best of all, the loud noises of people attempting to break the synthetic decking drew a crowd.

IBS proved that the next big thing for building products marketers is creating an experience attendees will remember and breaking from tradition to do it. But that’s not exclusive to IBS—these examples demonstrate that it’s a change happening at all trade shows. B2B marketers in the building products industry need to do better. Your average, boring trade show booths are no longer effective. Worse, they’re very likely a huge waste of your money.

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Lessons From The Builders’ Show

18 Feb

An Open Letter To Trade Show Exhibitors

Dear Friends,

According to the Convention Industry Council, trade shows added more than $280 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, drawing more than 225 million participants. That’s a staggering set of figures and it underscores the importance these shows play. As marketers, we all know exhibiting at trade shows can be vital to our business—to see and be seen, to market products and services, and to nurture relationships.

Over my career, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a variety of trade shows across numerous industries, the most recent at the building industry’s combined 2016 IBS & KBIS in Las Vegas.

And over the years, I’m struck by one constant of booths, regardless of time, region or industry…

Chances are, your booth sucks. It’s cramped, cluttered, and really boring.

While harsh, it’s also probably true. Worst of all, you probably know it. But take heart because you’re most certainly not alone in this. Everywhere, at every show, are long swaths of cluttered and uninspired landscape—overwhelming collections of shapes and colors, fixtures and messages, all masquerading as brand. It’s as pervasive and inescapable as it is predictable.

Why? When did this happen? When did it become okay to develop a trade show booth as if someone pitched the idea “You know what people will want to do after spending thousands of dollars and traveling hundreds of miles? To stand inside our 4×9 brochure!

Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the reality we’ve all seen time and again—and sadly, what we’ve come to expect and attendees to accept. Throngs of people shuffling past a booth, each scanning over it and moving on. And that’s after you’ve spent—what?—tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing budget, ostensibly to get exactly their attention.

So now that I’ve pointed out the obvious problem, let me point out the not-so-obvious remedy. The secret, the greatest missed opportunity, comes down to a simple idea that the majority of exhibitors overlook which is…want a hint? Here you go: International Builders’ Show, Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, International Consumer Electronics Show, SHOT Show, Club Industry Show, Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show…

Notice anything in common? They’re trade shows. And what is a show? It’s an event, a spectacle, something to witness and enjoy. It’s active, not passive—and that’s the key. If you were invited to “dinner and a show” you’d naturally expect to be entertained, and yet at trade shows, we invite people to come see us and then reward them with opportunities to stand around and read something. Where’s the spectacle? Where’s the pizazz?

Face it, contemporary trade shows are overgrown ice trays of bland inactivity. But there is hope, bright morsels of brilliance among the milquetoast masses.

As recently as the IBS/KBIS in Las Vegas, I found a few who got it right and as a result, got noticed—some with every chair filled and some with onlookers clogging the aisle (drawing even more to come and see what the buzz is about). Others would do well to follow their lead.

CertainTeed

IBS Certainteed

If you have the budget, go big and use celebrities. CertainTeed brought in HGTV star Mike Holmes for an appearance and photo opp, plus constructed a climbing wall. What does a climbing wall have to do with their products? It was lost on a lot of people. But see the woman in the foreground…she’s capturing it on her phone, probably sharing it with others. She’s sharing images of a B2B trade show booth unsolicited. Money shot, indeed.

GAF

IBS GAF

Don’t have big budgets for big talent? Go traditional and use models and simple RTW giveaways. Your own team is paid to be productive experts, but hired talent is paid to be charming, inviting, and generally attractive. At the GAF booth—just inside a major entry point—a smiling woman with a bubbly personality was getting grown men to register to win stuffed animals. And it worked; in the few moments it took for me to grab this picture, two men asked where to sign up.

Plastpro

IBS plastpro

I walked by the Plastpro booth a few times and each time I did, people were standing-room-only to watch a pro install a door. To most people, this would be a punchline, but to attendees it was interesting, valuable, and yes, entertaining. The presenter was upbeat and personable…and he presented, not simply talked. I’ll admit, I stuck around and learned how to square a door much easier than I used to (and I’m not even the target audience).

Okay, so it’s great if you have the resources for a 30×40 booth with big events and headline talent and boxes of prizes. But what about the 10×10 along the back wall? What about those who spent a third of their marketing budget just to get it all to the show?

Bad Dog Tools

IB baddog

For more than 10 minutes, I watched two men at Bad Dog Tools do nothing but demo their product and answer questions. No brochures, no giveaways, no models. Yet people were constantly lined up on two sides of the booth to watch drill bits bore through everything from rasps to brake discs. Bad Dog Tools could have made a video of it and had it looping while two of their salespeople sat on bar stools and watched attendees shuffle by and not stop, but instead they made the product the show. Brilliant.

What’s the takeaway? Don’t settle, make a spectacle. Create a booth that’s a destination, or at the very least, an interruption. Remember that people can get information about your products or services at your website, so use your trade show booth to interact with them in a way you can’t otherwise—and in a manner that doesn’t feel like you’re pressuring them to buy a timeshare.

And here’s one final thought to consider…

“People will pay more to be entertained than educated.” –Johnny Carson

So come on, marketers. Show us what you’re made of.

Sincerely,

Matt Hillman

ER Marketing, Creative Director

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